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Potshots from the Peanut Gallery

I'm begining to see a future for this 'blog.'

I knew from the get-go I'd be wandering off hither and yon with short form writing, whether in-micro on twitter, which is I'm afraid too much fun for anyone's good, or in comments to articles I come across through twitter or otherwise, and thus end up becoming a lapsed blogger here, a subject I anticipated in one of my earliest postings.

One answer to this is to re-post some of those impromptu comments I put up on the blogs of others, especially those comments which are too hot- (or cold-) blooded for the moderators where intended. Click here to skip ahead to the first of these. I may also take to re-posting here some of the multi-tweet riffs from twitter, or the brief excerpts from the articles or books on which they rely. Even with technical assistance, it is daunting to keep up in every short form venue as I am told an author must nowadays, and the time is coming for me to conclude research and begin book three.

I should be doing lengthier articles for general publication, as it increasingly seems to me the only way to get ideas across is to hit people over the head with them in non-fiction political opinion venues. Embedding or diffusing such in fiction does not seem to be working as well as originally hoped, at least not yet. A discussion of incremental transitions in consciousness, for example, relative to and independent of whatever starting or ending point, which is to say the learning effect and the actual meaning of progressivism, complementary to and in contrast with exit and protest actions, is one such mid-form essay I'd like to get out, along with related thoughts on party building alternatives.

If I find others doing this sort of work well enough instead of me, so much the better. I'll be free to deal with such gaps within the Nine Inch Bride fiction instead. Happily, I see quite a lot of sound opinion pieces in all sorts of venues, many brilliantly written, and we're glad to promote them on twitter and elsewhere along with our books and blogs.

I'll begin with this Ad Hoc  snippet on the subject of democracy.

I came across an article via tweet by the ever controversial @JustineTunney in the course of one of her anti-liberal twitter rants. Entertaining enough in her own right for all of her many talents, it is frightening sometimes to see in these tossed off tweets how mistaken she can be, at minimum in her choice of words, seeming to so earnestly misdirect all that intellectual horsepower with dire provocations just to get a chit-chat going. Who is going to answer you, Justine? Who's going to play tutor to your gaveling? I'll rise to the bait this once, because democracy in capitalism is the stuff of my book. But there is a reason people learn first and speak later, instead of speaking first in the hope of learning (or teaching) from arguments, and that of all places on twitter, a dreadful chat medium. We need you for greater things.

The linked-to article in question seemed to me a kind of litmus test for shallow thinking or gullibility, but I can see how it might be superciliously used to vindicate if not glorify Silicon Valley and 'techies' (a/k/a 'the digital proletariat') in general. The article conflates the status quo with democracy and is therefore false in premise ab initio. [ Read more... ]


Moderator Banned Comment @ 'Money Doesn't Matter in Politics'


This article sets up a straw man then knocks it down. A few conveniently biased exceptions are presented as if the norm. It's not worth the bother to refute them.

I will trouble myself to point out, for the sake of a certain Silican Valley apologist whose twitter link led me here, that to "get money out of politics" is not some kind of liberal (i.e., democratic party, i.e. hypocritical) mantra of rhetoric, or at worst that is only one of its many meanings and manifestations. It is also at the crux of the anarchist's anti-capitalist critique, and the Marxist view that banking elites essentially own the democratic parties and process, causing government to be a 'corporation' like themselves, acting primarily in their interest. When most elected politicians are necessarily millionaires, via corporate business, it goes without saying this will be the case.

The status quo is not democracy, however, it is oligarchy. That is the problem, not partisan money wars per se. There is no point in baring teeth at each other in the matter of which party owns the government, or whether it even is a government and not itself a 'for-profit' incorporation of regime, nor is there any point or benefit to setting oneself up against big tent populism of the working left, right and liberal mindsets. 'Money in politics' wages economic war at home and adds a lethal military dimension abroad and matters, de profundis. It is the political bedrock of capitalism, the raison d'etre for Citizens United and McCrutcheon.

Getting money out of the process is intended to transform democracy, wrest it away from capital, to make it something other than the sham it is under bourgeois domination, to make it in fact the "marketplace of ideas" and as prerequisite a "level playing field," cliches which still serve well. The liberation of democracy is laying the groundwork for post-revolutionary democracy. It is democracy in training, not liberal Milquetoast, and arguably the one transformation worth working within the electoral system to accomplish.

'Democracy' has no meaning when money or media buys = the idea or the ethos. To restore democracy means publicly funded elections, strictly apportioned media access, a direct and proportional multi-party electoral system, and likely a good deal more by way of freely available learning effects to make this ideal possible. In essence, any 'Joe' or 'Mary' should be able to become Senator or President by dint of the resonance of their ideas and their dedication to uphold them without a price tag on their representation, as long as we are stuck with 'representative' government at all.

Any alternative trans-ideological populist party has a clear mandate to raise a big tent to take on the issue of democracy itself within capitalism. The left and right can fight it out when it becomes truly possible to argue about the actual ideas upon which they differ, instead of defending entrenchments walled in money, a two-castle system of economic and political feudalism. I also think there would be better likelihood of new found agreement in new found language between working class democrats and republicans, Marxists and entrepreneurs, anarchists and libertarians, from working together in an uncomfortable alliance. In working together to 'give democracy a chance' there is a greater likelihood of discovering and articulating an expanded range of commons than any other way. Certainly there is a better chance than one can hope from this blunt, gagging two-party charade and the gridlock of animosities prevailing among those all alike oppressed.

And finally, though it should not need to be repeated, anyone who understands uncorrupted democracy, the clean machine, also understands it is rife with flaws and exceptionally hard work for that, but remains the vanguard of all anti-authoritarian thinking, its means and end. Nor does it necesarily preclude 'enlightened leadership' or 'vanguard consciousness' in its leveling effects. Clean democracy enables these and celebrates dissidence within its context.

There is a work of fiction I can recommend, Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed, which touches on these ideas, along with our own Epiphany on Wall Street and Suited For War.



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Noam Chomsky: On Power and Ideology


Noam Chomsky discusses the persistent and largely invariant features of U.S. foreign policy — in the words of U.S. planners, "the overall framework of order” — and its intimate relationship with U.S. domestic policy.

The U.S. foreign policy issues raised in his speech are explored thematically in book two of the Nine Inch Bride series, Suited For War.



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